After beginning the year with our AGM, we had a demonstration by Mike Humphries. Other interesting meetings throughout the year included a demonstration on creating a landscape planting and instruction on air layering, both by Chris Williams. In June we held our biennial Society Show with classes for conifer, broadleaf, mame, cascade and group plantings. The judging was carried out by our members voting for their favourite in each class, with prize money awarded to the winners.
In November we had a guest speaker, Simon Temblett, who gave an interesting talk about creating sharis on trunks and his method of making them look authentic. He also held a workshop during the day and worked one-to-one with people on their own trees.
We exhibited at both Tatton and Shrewsbury Flower Shows. We had hoped for good success in both shows due to our excellent standard of trees. We were awarded a silver-gilt medal at Tatton, but unfortunately did not score in the top three at Shrewsbury.
In September we had another pot-making weekend, led by David Jones of Walsall Studio Ceramics. This was great fun and interesting as usual, and we each made a number of excellent bonsai pots (aided and refined by Dave!).
The Society had another successful year, with a steady and loyal membership. We had the usual mixture of workshops and demonstrations at our meetings and held another pot-making weekend. David Jones from Walsall Studio Ceramics extended the skills of those who attended the weekend last year, and started off the 'novices'. All enjoyed the experience. It is a very proud moment to see a tree planted in a pot you have made yourself.
We held an auction of trees and bonsai related items at our meeting in June. The hall was so full of trees, etc., that we weren't sure we could get ourselves in - or have enough buyers! But in the end the majority of the goods changed hands, and the society's 10% commission on sales was gratefully added to the bank balance.
The highlight of the year was to be awarded our second Gold Medal Award at the RHS Show at Tatton Park. As usual, there was plenty of mud to go round when setting up but the weather did improve for the show days! This year we didn't put on a stand at the Shrewsbury Flower Show (although we will be in 2010), but had our usual good results in the individual classes.
We finished the year with an interesting talk by John Armitage about his learning experiences in Japan.
The highlight of our 21st year was achieving a Gold Medal at the RHS Show at Tatton Park, Knutsford. We have worked long and hard for this award and were truly delighted to realise our ambition. This high standard will be hard to maintain, but every effort will be made again in 2009.
We also showed as usual at Shrewsbury Flower Show, where we received multiple prizes both with the Society's stand and in the individual classes.
Membership has remained steady; our meetings, with the usual mix of workshops and demonstrations, were well attended. This year we put on our own show where the members were both entrants and judges. This was well supported and created a great deal of interest and discussion.
Another new item on the agenda was a pot making weekend run by David Jones of Walsall StudioCeramics. Each day's class was full, some members attending both days. This was a very fulfilling experience, enjoyed by everyone, and the resulting pots surpassed everybody's expectations. We are repeating the weekend in 2009.
We finished our anniversary year with a celebratory meeting, including "bubbly", a cake and a gift of an inscribed pen for each member.
Our Club has had a successful year, with 14 new members bringing the total membership up to 38 and two or three more ready to join in the New Year.
Our mix of demonstrations, workshops, the occasional auction, and a session looking at members' problem trees where everyone is welcome to give an opinion on the way forward, seems to work well, with new members quickly becoming involved. This has been demonstrated by the willingness of members to take their turn on the stand at the RHS Show in July, and at our "Celebration of Bonsai Weekend" at Tatton Park, in September. Thanks go to everyone who took part.
We were especially pleased to win a second Silver-Gilt Medal at the RHS Show at Tatton Park, Knutsford, and 2nd place in the Societies' class at the Shrewsbury Flower Show, Shropshire, with success in the individual classes too.
In 2008 we celebrate our 21st anniversary - we must be one of the longest running bonsai clubs in the UK - and are looking forward to another good year.